Brigham Young University’s president, Dr. Dallin H. Oaks, got in some good licks against growing federal encroachment in the field of higher education when he testified Tuesday before a congressional committee in Washington.
Charging that independence of private schools is threatened and that diversity disappears as control emerges, President Oaks appeared before the Post Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee.
He testified as secretary and board member of the 100-member American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Specifically, his comments had to do with regulations which have been proposed by the Department of Health Education and Welfare under Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972, including rules on sex discrimination in schools.
Proposals challenged by President Oaks will become law unless Congress acts to modify or eliminate them before July 21. “These regulations,” Dr. Oaks charged in behalf of the association, “represent a dangerous and illegal quantum jump in the extent of federal control over higher education. They are of greatest concern to private colleges and universities since they would impose a straight-jacket that would deprive private education of the diversity and flexibility it must enjoy in order to make its distinctive contribution to American higher education.”
He said the new regulations impose controls in a vast range of activities – admissions and recruitment, student qualifications, conduct of educational programs and activities, housing both on and off campus, student financial assistance and employment, health and insurance benefits, athletics, employment and placement of graduates.
Apparently the regulations provide that if an educational institution has received, even indirectly, a single dollar of federal money, every decision, activity, facility, educational policy or communication of that institution is subject to review and regulation, Dr. Oaks indicated.
The BYU president said that while the association is in harmony with equal opportunity for all persons, what it objects to is the regulatory mechanisms proposed to implement it.
Dr. Oaks agreed that federal funds should not be spent to support programs involving illegal discrimination, but claimed that it is a giant leap from that to a requirement that receipt of federal funds for any purpose subjects institutions or citizens to across-the-board control by agencies of the federal government.
We think the BYU president made some valid points in his testimony as a representative of the American Association of Presidents of Independent College and Universities.
It’s appropriate that he was asked to testify and apparently he made some good points on a question that should receive immediate and full and frank airing.